Zerif is middle-aged. He has light brown skin, hazel eyes and a neatly sculpted beard that only covers the end of his chin. He wields a large and expensive sword which he later loses in The Evertree. He also wears high boots, leather gauntlets, and an embroidered blue cloak.
In the Fall of the Beasts series, Zerif wears a black tunic. He bears the tattoos of many of the Great Beasts (Gerathon, Suka, Rumfuss, Arax, Halawir, Dinesh, Tellun, Mulop, and Uraza) on his chest. He also has a spiral mark on his forehead from the Wyrm parasite inside of him. The Wyrm temporarily takes over Zerif's body and appearance in The Burning Tide, turning one of his eyes black.
Zerif's past, and how he discovered Stetriol, is unknown. He is one of the few characters in the series to know the secrets of the Bile, and that Gerathon the Serpent's talisman creates it. It was later revealed that Kovo the Ape gave him this knowledge himself. Zerif manipulated Shane into drinking the Bile and becoming The Devourer (also giving it to Drina and the majority of the Stetriolan people). Zerif became a "distributor" of the Bile, and was also apparently given the task to recruit more Conquerors. Although he seemed loyal to the Conquerors, he ultimately was working for Kovo alone, seemingly wanting to get power out of it.
Later, in the second series, it appears he now works for the Wyrm, going around enslaving Great Beast spirit animals. He tracks the other Great Beasts and enslaves 9 of them in total, including Uraza. After Zerif and The Wyrm are killed in The Burning Tide, the Great Beasts are returned to their original summoners.
He is described as "oily", cruel, sadistic, and even insane. He also seems greedy for power and popularity, Shane mentioning that he wanted to "conquer hearts and minds". The majority of his past and motives are unknown, making him a very mysterious villain.
In the Books
In Wild Born, Zerif first appears when Abeke summons Uraza. He recruits her to the Conquerors, and then later tries to do the same to Rollan. But Rollan senses that Zerif was lying to him and runs away. Zerif pursues him, but he is stopped by the appearance of Olvan riding his moose towards him and Rollan.
Later, when Abeke is taken by Shane to meet his uncle General Gar, Zerif is sitting beside Gar, which surprises Abeke. Zerif and Gar inform Abeke of what was happening in the war and why it was happening. Abeke agrees to help the Conquerors gather the talismans after the explanation.
Zerif appears in the battle with Arax, where he fights Tarik briefly. When Barlow throws Arax off of a cliff to save Abeke, Zerif unexpectedly stabs him in the back and Abeke screams in horror. She realizes that she is fighting on the wrong side, and tells Zerif that they are "over". Zerif furiously retreats after that and the Greencloaks leave with the Granite Ram.
It was revealed that Zerif was stationed in Trunswick, and that he had a band of "legendary" Conquerors with him; Devin, with his wildcat, Tahlia, with her water-holding frog, Karmo, with his hamerkop, and Ana, with her gila monster. Rollan and Conor decide to stop in Trunswick for a visit, without knowing that it was a trap. Zerif captures them and the Earl of Trunswick has the two boys put in the Howling House.
Near the end of the book, Zerif appears with the rest of the Conquerors. Abeke tries to shoot him with her bow and arrow, but the arrow bounces off his chest harmlessly. Abeke then realizes that he was wearing the Iron Boar talisman, which makes his skin impenetrable.
Zerif is one the boat which Abeke and Meilin were imprisoned on. When the two girls are brought out, Zerif kicks them overboard, forcing them to swim to shore.
Later, Zerif, Aidana, General Gar, and Gerathon the Serpent arrive in Nilo, where they were going to take Cabaro the Lion's talisman. Their mission fails after Gar and Tarik kill eachother and Irtike triggers a massive landslide over Cabaro's oasis, stopping Gerathon. The Greencloaks leave Nilo with the Golden Lion talisman, only to have it stolen by Shane in the end.
Zerif appears with the other Conquerors at Muttering Rock, ready to free Kovo from his prison. Shane and Zerif climb Muttering Rock and free Kovo, where Zerif turns his back on Shane and pledges his loyalty to Kovo, enraging Shane. After the fight that ensues between the Conquerors and Greencloaks, Zerif loses his sword and retreats. Later, Abeke uses the sword to fight Shane.
Zerif is revealed to have been infected by a Wyrm parasite, and he attacks Rollan, Abeke, and a boy named Anda in Amaya. Rollan and Abeke are outmatched by the Great Beasts that Zerif had collected, but a figure with a mask jumps into the fight and stops Zerif from taking Essix and Uraza. The Greencloaks win the fight, but Tellun the Elk was stolen from Anda.
Zerif trails Abeke and Rollan to Fort Zourtzi in order to capture Cabaro the Lion. Rollan spies on him through Essix's eyes, but is spotted, and Zerif releases Halawir the Eagle to fight Essix. Later, Zerif duels Faisel and knocks him unconscious, then corners Abeke. He captures Uraza with a Wyrm parasite, and has her attack Abeke, but Cabaro intercepts the attack, saving Abeke's life.
Zerif launches an attack on the Redcloak base with his army of enslaved soldiers. He appears shortly after Shane is mortally wounded by Uraza, mocking Abeke for showing weakness. In the end of the book, Zerif bonds with the Wyrm itself, but it backfires when the Wyrm takes control of his body instead. Abeke reverses the spirit animal bonds using the Hellans' Trap, and Zerif is able to have control again. Abeke pleads for him to kill the Wyrm, and Zerif does so by throwing himself into the lava-filled Trap.
Zerif's first appearance was to Shane, where he deliberately cut down a tree to get arrested and met Shane during his trial. Through his trial, he planned to convince Shane and Gar to let him talk to King Irwyn, perhaps to know where the King was in order to kill him. However, he was instead put into a makeshift jail. Shane confronted him, and Zerif (knowing that Shane's entire family was dying because of the Bonding sickness) told Shane that he knew the cure to the sickness. Later, Zerif is shown to King Irwyn's room against initial orders, where he reveals to Shane that he had a spirit animal: a jackal. After Shane realizes that Gerathon's talisman (that was needed to create the Bile) was hidden in the King's throne, during the night, Zerif's jackal returned to the King's room and ripped out the King's throat, meaning Shane was now the king of Stetriol.
Shane doesn't exactly get along with Zerif, shown in Book 1 of The Book of Shane, where Shane is rather suspicious of him. Shane is furious when Zerif pledges his loyalty to Kovo in The Evertree, causing him to fight on the Four Fallen's side. Zerif in return doesn't think very highly of Shane.
When Aidana was infected with the bonding sickness, Zerif was the one to find her and give her the Bile. Out of gratefulness of him saving her life, Aidana devotes herself to the Conquerors, and is mainly seen at Zerif's side in the first series.
Raisha worked for Zerif before she summoned Gerathon the Serpent. She was extremely loyal to him and fought beside him several times in Tales of the Fallen Beasts, believing that working for Zerif gave her life meaning. However, Zerif knew she would summon Gerathon and used her as a tool, and in the end, stole Gerathon and infected Raisha with a Wyrm parasite.
- He introduces himself to Rollan as "Duke Zerif" in Wild Born.
- Zerif is visibly different from the other Many, and he can also control the other Many.
- In the game, there is a quest where you find Zerif's signature sword.